Production on full scale
typifies this Junior
Business firms from all
over the nation sponsor
JA companies in which
the teen-agers receive
a foretaste of the free
enterprise system which
is the backbone of
a whole segment of youth today
should be classified as "juvenile delinquents."
"Aren't you being hard on the children?'' she would ask. "Thex' haven't
heen brought up properly!"
Unfortunately, there are not enough
fech wonderful people as Grand-
pother to go around, for the term
juvenile delinquency" has stuck. Intended to refer to the illegal actions
of that small 4 per cent of America's
youth who have- known arrest for any
offense, it is too often associated xvith
all of the characteristically reckless
pranks of teen-age youth.
Juvenile Crime Breaks All Records
If Grandmother's evaluation xxas
Correct, mon- and more of America's
children arc being improperly reared,
for crime in the Unite-el States has
been spreading since the end of World
War II, and is breaking all records,
■villi juvenile criminals receiving most
of the blame.
J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the
*"Bl, issues repeated warnings to local
Police- officials that the number of
criminal offenses committed in the
future will make present figures look
Small unless there- is a large and unex-
Pcetetl downturn in the number of
"The clinic- problem is essentially a
Vouth problem,'' says Mr. Hoover, who
blames "the- apathy ancl failure of too
Bany parents to assume their proper
tesponsibilities." Many families allow
children to run as they please, with
1e> check on their friends. The result,
be says, is a "juvenile jungle."
With crime costing the country an
estimated S20 billion a year, ancl thc
outlook for more crime and higher
*'\< is Fohum News, December, 1956
costs, indifference to the rising crime
rate is detected in many communities.
People are not aroused to the problem.
The cure will not come, says Mr.
Hoover, until the nation gets its fill
and decides something will have to
Thefts of automobiles are- expected
to reach nearly 269,000 this year. In
six out of ten cases, arrest records
prove that the thief is a youth under
IS years of age.
These teen-age criminals also commit half the burglaries, more than 40
per cent of the- larcenies, and a considerable number of the robberies that
noxv clog police records.1
Mr. Hoover feels that juvenile
crime could be abated if parents were
made to face legal and financial responsibility for the criminal acts of
their children. He endorses jail sentences for "delinquent parents."
While this doctrine is strongly opposed by most officials who specialize
in work xxith delinquents, a Parental
Responsibility Act put into effect in
Michigan in May, 1953, has achieved
Michigan Senator Harold M. Ryan,
sponsor of the act, was prompted by
the- idea that if vandalism costs the
parents money, they xxill take a keener
interest in the whereabouts and activities of their children'. This law holds
parents financially responsible up to
$300 for juvenile vandalism."
When parents suddenly realize that
thex will have to "pay the piper" for
the destructiveness of their children,
they are "forcibly encouraged" to interest themselves to a greater degree
in the activities of their offspring.
A family circle which lacks cohesion
may find itself strengthened and refined through this encouragement, as
the results in Michigan would indicate.
Russian Family Life Purged
At the same time that America faces
problems of juvenile delinquency, its
ideological enemy in the Kremlin is
experiencing difficulty in the training
of youth. Hooligans ancl delinquents,
according to reports in Soxiet newspapers arc multiplying in Russian
cities. Instead of devoting their lives
to "building socialism," these youths
are found to be living recklessly.
According to one Soviet magazine:
It is bad when a child hears one thing
ut home anel something e-ls*- in the school.
His teachers tell him that rain anel snow
are- cine- to natural c-ansi-s. and at Iiehiu- lis-
is told the-y c-emie- from God. In school
lie- he-ars that lightning is an electric discharge, and at home lie- is told that it is
an arrow of fire- sent down by God.
Khrushchev is said to have come to
the conclusion that the trouble lies in
"improper influence" in the home.
Family life has offended — so family
life is now to be purged. Children are
to step directly from the cradle into
(Continued on page 46)
•U. S. .Weiss t- World Report, Oct. 5, 1956, p. 66.
'Newnecek, April 2. 1956. p. 95.
•"Michigan Pests It Up To The Parents," by Harold WliitBiiiBii, lliittlrr'.-. Digest, XI-bbeIb. I'l eIE.